At PCFR: Explaining the refugees at our border; Brazil turns right; Indian castes there and here; Tough little Taiwan




Next at the PCFR: Central American challenge; Brazil’s new boss; Indian caste system there and here and PRI foreign correspondence; Plucky Taiwan

Herewith some upcoming talks at the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations (;, which are held at the Hope Club. Please consult for information on how to join the organization and other information about the PCFR.

We much enjoyed the March 14 talk by Miguel Head, who spent the past decade as a senior adviser to the British Royal Family!

At the  next meeting, on  Thursday, April 4, James Nealon, the former U.S. ambassador to Honduras, will talk about Central America in general and Honduras in particular, with a focus on the conditions leading so many people there to try to flee to the United States – and what the U.S. can and should do about it.

A career Foreign Service officer,  Nealon held posts in CanadaUruguayHungarySpain, and Chile before assuming his post as Ambassador to Honduras in August 2014; Nealon also served as the deputy of Gen. John F. Kelly, while Kelly was in charge of the United States Southern Command.

After leaving his ambassadorship in 2017, Nealon was named assistant secretary for international engagement at the Department of Homeland Security by Kelly in July. During his time as assistant secretary, Nealon supported a policy of deploying Homeland Security agents abroad. He resigned his post on Feb. 8, 2018, due to his disagreements with the immigration policy of Donald Trump, and, specifically, the withdrawal of temporary protected status for Hondurans.


Then, on Wednesday, April 10, the speaker will be Prof. James Green, who will talk about the political and economic forces that have led to the election of  Brazil’s new right-wing president,  Jair Bolsonaro – and hazard some guesses on what might happen next. Professor Green is one of the world’s leading experts on that huge country. (The PCFR strives to avoid having dinners two weeks in a row but in some rare cases the availability of expert speakers on urgent current topics forces this crowding.)

Professor Green, who teaches at Brown, is the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Latin American History and director of Brown’s Brazil Initiative, Distinguished Visiting Professor (Professor Amit) at Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, and the Executive Director of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA), which is now housed at the Watson Institute at Brown.

Green served as the director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown from 2005 to 2008. He was president of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) from 2002 until 2004, and president of the New England Council on Latin American Studies (NECLAS) in 2008 and 2009. 


Then on May 16 comes Phillip Martin,  senior investigative reporter for WGBH News and a contributing reporter to Public Radio International’s The World, a co-production of WGBH, the BBC and PRI -- a program that he helped develop as a senior producer in 1995.  Basing his comments on his recent reporting for PRI, he’ll talk about the Indian caste system and how it extends into the Indian immigrant community in the U.S. He’ll also talk about the  very challenging role of foreign correspondents in contemporary journalism. Many PCFR members have probably often heard his resonant voice on public radio.

Phillip is the recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists 2017 Sigma Delta Chi award for Best Investigative Reporting and the 2014 national Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Investigative Reporting(large-market radio ). He also was honored with 2013 New York Festivals and United Nations UNDPI Gold Awards. He was part of a team of reporters that was honored in 2002 with a George Foster Peabody Award to NPR for coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S. He has received numerous other journalism and civic engagement honors over the course of his career. 

He earned a master's degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and studied international protection of human rights law at Harvard Law School. 


On Tuesday, June 4, Douglas Hsu, a senior Taiwanese diplomat who currently oversees that nation’s interests in New England, will speak to us about current political and economic conditions in that nation (one of Rhode Island’s largest export markets), and China’s military and other threats to Taiwan.